Monday, June 24, 2013

Two good Plessisville-Appalache rides - combined into one!

Looking north, above Ste-Sophie-de-Halifax. Plessisville Church steeple is visible on horizon

We rode twice recently in the Appalachian foothills south of Plessisville. We like this area a lot and have been exploring it for about 5 years.  

The principal attraction is a pair of rods called Chemin Craig and Chemin Gosford.  These were the first two roads built between Quebec City and the USA, opening up Sherbrooke and the Eastern Townships to colonization. These are quiet roads winding through the forests and farms of the region. We like these two roads more than a lot.

The Le Québec en 30 Boucles cycling guidebook is one source we use for new rides in the very big place that is Québec. The routes were selected from readers of VeloMag's readers favorites. So I have a good expectation when I do rides from this guide. But sometimes we like long rides, so we put two plus two together and combined two routes in the guide into one long ride.

We combined:

Circuit #20: Plessisville > Ste-Sophie-d'Halifax > St-Jean-de-Brebeuf > Inverness > St-Pierre-Baptiste > Plessisville


Circuit #22: Thetford Mines (Robertsonville) > St-Jacques-de-Leeds > Kinnear's Mills > Thetford Mines (Robertsonville)

We were very familiar with the roads in circuit 20, but #22 was all-new.  And it conveniently attaches it self quite well our favorite version of Circuit 20, so we had a plan! A good plan too, was the expectation.

Happily we had a perfect day on an excellent ride through some of the best landscape in Quebec.

We did both our start and finish through Ste-Sophie-d'Halifax, because fun.

So our route was:

Plessisville > Ste-Sophie-d-Halifax > Maple-Grove > St-Pierre-Baptist > Kinnear's Mills > Thetford Mines (Robertsonville) > St-Jacques-de-Leeds >Chutes Lysander waterfall > Inverness > St-Ferdinand > Ste-Sophie-d-Halifax> Plessisville

Shorter version?

For a shorter ride do circuit 20 or 22 separately. We like #20 very very much, especially because we add a little aller-retour up to the hill top village of Vianney.

Here is our circuits 20+22 combined ride map Bigs hills, many, many big hills). We rode it counter-clockwise.

Here is our most recent version of the Circuit 20 area's ride including Vianney and a sidetrip on Chemin Hamilton. We rode it clockwise.


Nice hyper-scenic Mauricie ride with bonus supermoon!

Almost home, the supermoon and 1000s of fireflies keep us company

Our Louiseville ride up into the hills of MRC Maskinongé was a test to see if we could leave Montreal at noon and still pull off a long ride (135 km) before sunset, on this 4th longest day of the year late-sunset period. Well we pulled off a great ride, but the sunset arrived before the end of the ride did. This was, however, not a bad thing since the temperature was great, roads were quiet and car free, night vision is a forgotten fact of human vision, the well-publicized super-moon did a spectacular moonrise for the last hour of the ride until we finally arrived in Louiseville. Also, there were 1000s of fireflies lighting up the surrounding farm fields.

MRC Maskinongé cycling map is very good, today's ride has red dots

To avoid a Joseph Conrad Heart-of-Darkness kind of thing, if you are not a hill expert, you should turn around in St-Alexis-des-Monts and not make the out-and-back to Hotel Lac Sacacomie (and the side trip down the town dock at lake level). But if you like hills, then you will enjoy (!) the many hills on chemin Yvon Plante around Lac Sacacomie, because this is a top-ten road for hill-loving bike riders.

You can get the MRC Maskinongé cycling map here:

You can get the paper copy at the Tourisme Maskinongé office in the Aire de service de la Baie-de-Maskinongé (rest stop) on Autoroute 40 est rest stop close to the exit for the town of Maskinongé ( Carte vélo/cycling maps are available inside the tourism office, so you have to visit during their office hours when they are open).

Here is the ride map on Bikely. If you skip the Lac Sacacomie killer-hill aller-retour (out and back) section north of St-Alexis-des-Monts, this is a nice intermediate-level hill ride, with plenty of good scenery!

Louiseville is about 75 minutes from Montreal, park at the church. The Route Verte passes right though main street of Louiseville, then turns off the main road onto a tree-lined quiet road, a great start to a great ride.

Remember to bike up to the summit of the Calvaire in Ste-Elie-de-Caxton, turn right at the cemetery behind the church and follow this tiny road up to the summit: the word for this is adventure cycling.